Ahead of the Senegalese Presidential Elections: Taking the Temperature from Twitter Mining

This Policy Brief focuses on the Senegalese elections from a Twitter Mining perspective. The authors gathered data from November 2018 to February 2019 about two presidential candidates. The goal was to provide some insights about Sunday’s presidential election. The first part presents a Sentiment analysis as well as a word cloud, while the second part emphasis on most frequent words that came up during the analysis. The authors also looked at the influential users who tweet about the two presidential candidates. As a conclusion, it is interesting to see that Twitter can be a metaphor for Election Day. In fact, one of the key indicators where a question mark hangs is the expected participation rate. Indeed, since Abdoulaye Wade came back to Dakar on February 7, 2019, he has been actively calling on voters to boycott the elections. He believes the elections should not take place since his son, Karim Wade, was not able to run for the presidency. It is true that Abdoulaye Wade, former Senegalese president, does have some influence in the country, especially, amongst the Mouridiya religious community. However, the participation rate will reveal whether his influence still holds strongly or not. It is unlikely that his call for boycotting will have a major influence. Nonetheless, the participation rate will be a major indicator to assess the next president’s weight amongst the population. If the next president is elected with a high percentage, but with a low participation rate, it could question his legitimacy as few people actually voted for him. In opposition to that, if the polls elect the next president with an average percentage but with a reasonable participation rate (around 50%), it would give him more legitimacy during his mandate.